|Upcoming Events Our Open House
Come see what's new! Learn more...
LEED AP Exam Prep Course
Registered for the LEED AP exam? Drill your skills and get study tips! Learn more... China-US Sustainable Development
Join a facilitated dialogue on regional sustainable development in China Learn more... Share with a Friend
For every person who subscribes to this newsletter by fall of 2009, O'Brien & Company staff will plant a tree at our company field day this fall. So far, we have *|LIST:SUBSCRIBERS|* subscribers and our goal is 1000 readers/trees. We hope you'll forward
this email to your friends and colleagues and invite them to sign up for future announcements
. Project Spotlight
We're proud to be part of several sustainable projects that are transforming the South Lake Union neighborhood:
, Vulcan's multi-block project that just celebrated a groundbreaking
(Seattle Biomedical Research Institute), the first LEED Core & Shell Silver Pilot Project
| LEED for Homes
Rewarding the Green Building Process
by Alistair Jackson, LEED AP, CSBA
LEED for Homes v2008 is officially into its second year as an active rating system, following more than two years in pilot. As the LEED for Homes Provider in Washington State, O’Brien & Company has seen builders from across the spectrum signing up to participate. Our clients include deep green custom home builders, large scale production companies and affordable housing organizations. Even Habitat for Humanity, with the added challenges of limited budgets, donated materials and volunteer construction crews, is seeing the value and opportunity in LEED for Homes certification.
In spite of the soft economy, adoption is accelerating. Nationally, there are more than 1900 units of housing already certified and an estimated 12,000 units registered. What is perhaps most exciting about those numbers is what they represent by way of a change in the process of residential design and construction. While many of the categories and credits of the LEED for Homes Rating System are focused on design and construction strategies and practices, there are also some that deal specifically with process.
LEED for Homes explicitly rewards projects that have an integrated project team that communicates regularly through design and construction. The rating system requires that projects create a Durability Plan and a quality management system to ensure that plan is properly implemented. Quality assurance steps such as thermal bypass inspections (to ensure insulation and air barrier are properly installed and aligned), duct leakage and envelope infiltration tests are also requirements, not options.
At the end of the day, whatever program residential projects pursue, green home certification must be about more than simply completing a checklist. High performance comes through better process, not just better products and practices. LEED for Homes follows in the wake of other residential programs that have raised awareness of the value of green building practices. Perhaps LEED for Homes’ greatest contribution will be to embed the processes that will make a comfortable, durable, healthy living environment a dependable outcome as well as a cherished prize.
Green Jobs for Green Building
It's Not Just Buzz
Nationally, the government is hoping to create “millions” of green jobs using stimulus and other funding. Washington State leadership is hoping to create green jobs as well. Governor Gregoire hopes to create 25,000 green-collar jobs by 2020, and proposed House legislation Evergreen Jobs Act (HB2227) would support training and creation of 15,000 new jobs by 2020.
Many of those jobs are expected to be in green building construction or in manufacturing and allied services. Clean Energy Corps, for example, predicts 600,000 new jobs due to the U.S. commitment to energy efficiency and clean energy technologies.
O’Brien & Company has been participating in symposia, panels, and even a movie called "Green Building: Jobs of the Future" that connects the green job fervor to green building.
View the film here.
About the Film
Green Building: Jobs of the Future In an effort to describe the opportunities that exist this fast growing market the Department of Ecology has partnered with the Department of General Administration and the Construction Center of Excellence on a film project: “Green Building: Jobs of the Future.” The film brings together local and national leaders in green building, climate change, manufacturing, and work-force development to make the case for green building’s capacity to create jobs and boost the economy while not further imposing on our environment. In these challenging times, opportunities abound!